Press Release
June 5, 2007

Comelec no choice but to disregard Maguindanao votes
and proclaim 12 winning senatorial bets, says Drilon

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has no other choice but to disregard the fraudulent election returns from the province of Maguindanao and immediately proclaim all the 12 winning senatorial candidates in the May 14 elections, opposition Liberal Party (LP) President Frank Drilon said today.

Drilon pointed out that it was impossible for the specially-created provincial board of canvassers to conduct a "re-canvass" of election returns from Maguindanao because no Certificates of Canvass (CoC) from the province were ever forwarded to the Comelec National Board of Canvassers at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

"Everyone in the Comelec knows that three weeks since the elections, no copies of the Certificates of Canvass for the senatorial elections were ever transmitted by the Maguindanao Provincial Board of Canvassers to Manila," said Drilon. "In effect, there is nothing to re-canvass. Nobody seems to know where these CoCs are."

Drilon explained that under the election code and Comelec Resolution No. 7859, a third copy of the Certificates of Canvass should have been transmitted from Maguindanao to Comelec canvassing center in Manila right after the elections. However, Drilon said, Comelec records showed that no such CoCs were transmitted to Manila.

Drilon is president of the LP which was recognized by the Comelec as the dominant minority party in the elections.

At the same time, Drilon added, the Comelec cannot declare a failure of elections in Maguindanao and call for special elections since local officials led by Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong, Gov. Andal Ampatuan, the vice governor, provincial board members, municipal mayors and board members were deemed elected and proclaimed winners of the May 14 local elections by the Comelec.

"Legally, Comelec cannot declare a failure of elections for the senatorial candidates in Maguindanao because elections indeed took place as shown by the elections and proclamation of local Maguindanao candidates led by Congressman Datumanong and Governor Ampatuan," Drilon noted.

It will be recalled that week the Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. had ordered a re-canvassing in Maguindanao province and formed a special board for it. He announced the poll body's decision even as petitions have been filed to set aside the tabulation of votes in the province following reports of massive cheating.

Drilon said with these developments, the Comelec was left with no other choice but to invalidate and disregard the election results from Maguindanao and to include the 11 th and 12th winning senatorial candidates to be proclaimed as winners of the May 14 elections Wednesday.

The Comelec had thrice put off the proclamation of the candidates who are already statistically assured of winning, largely because of objections from the administration coalition Team Unity, which insists the canvassing be completed first, including those coming from Maguindanao Province.

In a petition filed earlier by LP lawyers, Drilon asked the Comelec "to invalidate and not to canvass" certificates of election returns from Maguindanao due to alleged massive election fraud and the absence of Certificates of Canvass from the province.

News Latest News Feed